Vacheron Constantin - The 2021 New York Watch Auction New York Saturday, December 11, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Vacheron Constantin
    Year: 1947
    Reference No: 4414
    Movement No: 412’739
    Case No: 306’393
    Model Name: World Time
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 17’’’ 15/12, 18 jewels
    Dimensions: 48mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The early 20th century saw a new horizon with a technical revolution that forever changed society. Following the Wright brothers first flight in 1903, aviation evolved and by the early 1930s global travel while expensive was not uncommon. By 1927 Pan American Airways was flying routes in Central and South America, and new innovations lead to the ultimate development of the jet engine, which further expanded the globe – most especially to the wealthy. With the golden age of travel, new technical advancements occurred in the world of horology, in particular, the introduction of the world time watch.

    The Geneva-based watchmaker, Louis Cottier (1894-1966) invented the world time mechanism that would be used by Switzerland’s leading watch manufacturers, including Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Vacheron Constantin. An ingenious mechanism, it was designed to be simple to operate - featuring a local time, with the hour and minute hands at center, linked to a rotating 24-hour ring, and bordered by a fixed outer dial ring with the names of different cities inscribed on it. The city of choice (local time zone) was placed at the 12 o'clock position with the hours/minutes hand set at local time. The watch would then display the correct time in both hours and minutes, night and day, for every time zone in the world simultaneously, all the while allowing easy and accurate reading of local time, and all on a single dial.

    Today, these watches and their ingenious movement are highly sought after by collectors both for their technical craftsmanship, and as a window in to our past. The rise and fall of global and local powers can be followed by studying the cities whose time zones are displayed on the dial, many of which differ from one decade to the next.

    The present, fresh-to-market Vacheron Constantin World Time from 1947 is a superb, oversized example of one of these extremely rare timepieces. Measuring in impressive 48mm in diameter, it is presented in outstanding overall condition with an engraved case back illustrating its superb historical background. Certainly a fitting gift or purchase by a statesman, the engraving reads “Lic. Miguel Aleman”. Miguel Alemán Valdés (1900-1983) served as President of Mexico from 1946-1952, and his post-presidential years saw him as director of Mexico’s tourism agency. The delightful, superbly preserved dial features applied gold star and Arabic hour markers, with the cities found on the outer dial ring all in raised, hard enamel printing with no losses whatsoever.

    A wonderful time capsule from the mid-20th century, the present lot will please both savvy collectors and historians for its technical genius, and insight in to the golden age of travel.

  • Artist Biography

    Vacheron Constantin

    Swiss • 1755

    The world's oldest watch brand in continuous operation since its founding in 1755, Vacheron Constantin was the first watch company to manufacture movements with interchangeable parts beginning in 1839. Vacheron's watches are admired for their Latin-influenced case designs, well-balanced proportions and exquisitely finished movements of the highest quality. The Geneva-based manufacturer is known for their highly complicated masterpieces, including the King Farouk Grand Complication made in 1935, the Tour de l'Ile that was the most complicated serially produced wristwatch when introduced in 2005 and the 57260 — the world’s most complicated watch — made in 2015.

    Key vintage models include minute repeating wristwatches such as the references 4261, chronographs such as the references 4178 and 6087 and the oversized Cioccolotone models such as ref. 4737. Collectors also appreciate Vacheron's Chronometer Royal pocket and wristwatches, as well as the '222,' the brand's first luxury sports watch produced from 1977 through 1984.

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Ref. 4414
A large, extremely fine, and historically important yellow gold open face world-time pocket watch

48mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

$35,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $113,400

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


The 2021 New York Watch Auction

New York Auction 11 - 12 December 2021